On Thursday, we celebrated the 100th day of school. Not that it isn’t a monumental occasion, but it amazed me that starting around day 65, my students began exclaiming how we were so close to 100. Nearly every morning at our community meeting there was a series of “woooah!”s and “oh my god!”s when a student announced what number we were up to in the count. I was asked at least once per day, “Can we have a party when we get to 100?”
Now remember, these are kindergarteners and first graders. It’s not as if they’ve been acculturated to think that 100 days of school is a huge deal and to know that lots of classrooms celebrate. I happen to know that my current 1st graders did not celebrate the 100th day last year, which means that all of my students are more or less new to the idea.
But naturally, the number 100 seems infinitely huge to young children. 100 is A LOT. 100 is way more fingers than you have. 100 is way more words than are usually on a page. 100 dollars is way more money than you spend. Counting to 100 is a serious feat.
So 100 days of school? Yeah, that’s definitely impressive in the mind of a 5-year-old (or, as I think back on last year, in the mid of a first-year teacher…). To honor its impressiveness, we engaged in all sorts of 100-related activities: 100-piece puzzles, 100 q-tip sculptures, 100 jumps, make-your-own 100-piece trail mix. Fun was had by all.
But then at the end of the day, during our closing meeting, serious questions arose. “Wait, what about tomorrow?” “What day will that be?” “Do we still have school?” “Can we celebrate again when we get to 1000?” A few of the more numerically-mature kids snickered, but for a lot of the group, these were very real wonderings. Everyone went home knowing that they did in fact get to come to school the next day, but as for what number came next–that we left open for discussion.